I had just gathered my daughter from her school and was engaged in her recounting of her day's activities when accosted by an exercise of parent-testing in the form of her first-expressed four-letter expletives (at least, the first tested on my ears.) A casual glance in her direction was all that was required to confirm my understanding that this was a probe of my reactions and that I was being toyed with by my nine-year-old offspring.
I responded with a smile and "Those are only words. They have neither power nor significance beyond the intent with which they are delivered. Apart from a message from your heart, they have no value, either positive or negative. If your heart is right, I don't care what words you use, they will be welcomed by me. But, if your heart is wrong ... if you have a mean-spirited intention in your heart when speaking ... no words of any kind will be acceptable or tolerated. So, (and I called her by name) the only thing that I will respond to is, what I perceive to be, the condition of your heart ... not the vocabulary that you express your heart with." We, then, shared a mutual smile of understanding.
Hence this little missive to you, My Dear Friend. Please grant me this intrusion into the intimate privacy of your spirit where I ask that you consider a focus... an aiming, if you will, of your heart toward simple... Nobility. Thinking the kind thought. Speaking the generous word. Letting go of your 'rights' and allowing grace and felicity to govern your environs, if but for this moment. For, you see, this is the essence of the "Spirit of the law" as we have oft heard compared to the "Letter of the law." This is, if you will, the "True North" as opposed to the "Magnetic North" on this "planet" of our lives. And what I am asking is that you navigate to the "true" noble value of life while the majority all about you are navigating to the "magnetic" sets of common standards that (while headed in the same approximate direction) have their direction compromised by accommodation and expediencies of circumstance.
In the development of the ever transitory "letter" of the laws of acceptable choices, the world all too often seeks the path of least resistance to motivations that are far less than noble. But that "Still Small Inner Voice" within our hearts will always permit our discovery of the "spirit" of those laws if we only take a moment to stop and inquire "What is the true intent of this law ... this protocol ... this standard?" I can assure you, with certainty, that you will discover a core value and worth ... a spirit ... behind that direction of governance (be it scripture, legal directive, community regulation, or family tradition) and you will easily discern the response that will be immediately comfortable and natural, for you. You will, then, hear the "voice" of your heart and know what your personal best response can be. Please be forewarned, this election may very well be in contrast to the choices of those around you. But this is your individual purpose in life; to interpret, illustrate, demonstrate, and offer the options that are your contribution to life. Herein, please be confident, and fail not. For it is from our individual choices made that we establish our Self-esteem and confidence of Character.
I hear myself offering, with ever-more increasing frequency, the advice to intimate friends (and even casual acquaintances [when opportunity allows]) to "trust, honor, and follow your heart." For, you see, Dear Friend, in the final estimation, this is the only defensible position that we, as responsible individuals, can ever have.
To say that we acted, chose, spoke, or decided based on any exterior influence (whether religious, corporate, social, professional, familial, or cultural) is to say that we abandoned our personal responsibility and hid behind some alternative standard (regardless how 'acceptable' or 'proper'.) But when we have adopted standards to the degree that they are the conviction of our Heart and have a living presence in our Soul of souls, then we can act on our Heart's convictions and assume undiluted responsibility for our behavior. We can say, "I followed my Heart" and rest in that simple statement as sufficient reason for our choices, behavior, and intentions. And it is my constant hope that those internalized convictions are, in every instance, tempered with the spirit of respect for, care for, and gentle kindness toward the world around us.
So, My Friend, you can hear the message that I tried to convey to my daughter, those years ago. There is forgiveness and acceptance in the understanding that our words may err and our actions may accomplish results apart from our intent. Mistakes and blunders will always be our companions in the living of this life. But if our Hearts are right ... if our Purpose is focused on kindness, generosity, and the best interests of others ... the clumsy words; the stumbling presentation of our ideas; the failed execution of our best plans; will be easily embraced by all who know our hearts ... and love us for our attempts ... and respect our following of our Heart's leading.
IMAGE: Through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton, FreeFoto.com
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